ill and aging overseas (Indian) il's and dh's guilt.. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 08-31-2010, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay i guess that sums it up. In laws are in their mid 60's and have health issues and fil recently had to go to the ER and dh is really upset. Add that dh's uncle died back in the spring and I think the fact that they may not have very long is really upsetting him, somehow it comes back to me not working that we can't help them out or visiting as much as he liked. I want to be supportive in his time of need, but I am not sure how to. I have told him before, I would not have done what he did, (move overseas) if my parents were alive (they are not), so I guess I am trying to tell him that he made this decision long ago and now that things are not looking good, he has overwhelming guilt which he doesn't really know how to express. We both have made some bad financial decisions as a married couple and dh more so than me, (he struggled with gambling for the first couple years of our marriage), it is thankfully under control now. I don't want to throw past issues into the mix, but i'm newly pregnant with #2 and he told me he will get the V once the baby is born, and is he throwing it all back on having kids b/c he knows I want to be SAHM and he honestly thinks if we didn't have kids I would be making big bucks by now and that would have solved all these problems. I don't like hearing things like getting the V when I am newly pregnant, we had tried for a long time this time around and, he has seemed so distant since finding out, which i think is due to the il's suppose to be visiting and we haven't gotten enough money for them too. But honestly I am still SAHming with my 4 y/o so I don't think that me getting pregnant has cost us so much money in the present. I have told him that if it is a dd I probably don't want anymore either, but I don't really want to think about that right now or base the decision on the il's present health and our present finances when that is far in the future. So what can I do as a wife? He is feeling a lot of pressure now since talking to fil, and now bil and family is moving out of fil's house so the 2 of them will be alone again and dh is upset about that too.

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#2 of 22 Old 09-03-2010, 12:52 AM
 
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I'm so very sorry that you are going through all this! My dh is also Indian so I understand the pressure that he is feeling, and projecting onto you. He is probably displacing some of his feelings of guilt onto you and the baby, since you are closer at hand. :-(

So he's feeling pulled by his parents and that huge cultural obligation that has been ingrained in him forever, and another huge cultural obligation to provide for his family.

Your new baby is yours together, and he tried along with you for all those months. It's not fair to put this burden on you!

Although we don't have the elderly parent thing going on right now, I anticipate it will happen at some point. My dh is the oldest child and only son of his family and they are in India. I got tired of him feeling depressed that our single income is inadequate, and I should not have quit work 10 years ago to be a SAHM. He also would say that there was no way he would put our kid in daycare so I couldn't win! I'm in nursing school now, soon to graduate and hopefully get a job. That will at least reduce the pressure on him somewhat, and our kids are ages 6 and 9 so not babies who need full time care. Maybe that's something you can think about in the future years from now if you keep having that conflict. I know it's going to feel good to him that I don't have to ask him for things or have him juggle the checkbook to pay for something I need/want. And I will feel good earning money and being in a less vulnerable position. (I don't want to start some work vs SAHM debate here!!! Just FYI to the other posters!)

Is there a way you can have a good sit down with your dh? Or maybe have a counselor sort this out? Maybe there is a good friend that you know in the Indian community that you can talk to about this, too.

So sorry tht this is raining on your parade when you should be happy about the new little one.

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#3 of 22 Old 09-03-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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Well, I think he's definitely being unfair to you.

But, the stress and worry and pressure he's under must be tremendous. And sometimes people are less aware of their words when they're under that much of a burden.

Dh went into a deep depression when he heard of his grandmother's illness. She basically raised him, and for him not to be there when she was sick, or the thought of missing her funeral (big deal there) made him feel tremendously guilty, and that made him tremendously difficult to live with.

It sounds like you're taking an approach along the lines of "Well you made this bed, now you lie in it". I think it's understandable that you don't like being blamed for the situation, but it's probably not a tactic that will increase the health of your relationship, KWIM? My dh responded really well to me taking an attitude of understanding his guilt and cultural obligations. I didn't sign my kids up for daycare and go to work or anything, but I did work with him to find ways to alleviate that guilt. For a few years, that meant living on his meager regular time income, and letting him put all his overtime money into his fund to help his family out. And after that, I worked iwth him to live frugally and save up money so that we didn't go into debt when he needed to go back to his country.

I think finding some counseling, particularly from someone who understands Indian culture, would be helpful. Not just to "fix" your husband, but to help you understand his perspective and hopefully help you two work together instead of fighting about this.
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#4 of 22 Old 10-02-2010, 07:13 AM
 
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New to this forum. This is more of a financial advice than an emotional one. I am sure you are both doing the basics right, and while you don't have room to stretch, you are still living within your means. I am assuming that he has a decent job and it pays an OK salary.

- Start shopping at big box stores, Costco, etc.
- Make a budget and follow it perfectly.
- If he contributing to a retirement acct, stop it and raise an emergency fund. Up to one year of living expenses.
- Pay off your credit cards.
- if you have a good credit history, look at options for an emergency line of credit

Basically, financial problems are common in most marriages.
Also, I would recommend the bogleheads forum if you want more financial advice.

The emotional advice part, i am a bit weak at. But the argument that he moved overseas and left his parents behind (and you wouldnt do it) is weak. People move overseas to have a better life and I am sure he intended to and actually accomplished it for himself and your family. All you have to do is give him support during a tough time for him, and ask for the same for yourself.
Also, if his parents are in India, medical expenses are quite reasonable - not through the roof like in the US. If he is moderately religious, remind him of the famous lines that Krishna tells Arjun - the only truth, life and death.

Good luck.
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#5 of 22 Old 10-05-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ILoveMyBabyBird View Post
Okay i guess that sums it up. In laws are in their mid 60's and have health issues and fil recently had to go to the ER and dh is really upset. Add that dh's uncle died back in the spring and I think the fact that they may not have very long is really upsetting him, somehow it comes back to me not working that we can't help them out or visiting as much as he liked. I want to be supportive in his time of need, but I am not sure how to. I have told him before, I would not have done what he did, (move overseas) if my parents were alive (they are not), so I guess I am trying to tell him that he made this decision long ago and now that things are not looking good, he has overwhelming guilt which he doesn't really know how to express. We both have made some bad financial decisions as a married couple and dh more so than me, (he struggled with gambling for the first couple years of our marriage), it is thankfully under control now. I don't want to throw past issues into the mix, but i'm newly pregnant with #2 and he told me he will get the V once the baby is born, and is he throwing it all back on having kids b/c he knows I want to be SAHM and he honestly thinks if we didn't have kids I would be making big bucks by now and that would have solved all these problems. I don't like hearing things like getting the V when I am newly pregnant, we had tried for a long time this time around and, he has seemed so distant since finding out, which i think is due to the il's suppose to be visiting and we haven't gotten enough money for them too. But honestly I am still SAHming with my 4 y/o so I don't think that me getting pregnant has cost us so much money in the present. I have told him that if it is a dd I probably don't want anymore either, but I don't really want to think about that right now or base the decision on the il's present health and our present finances when that is far in the future. So what can I do as a wife? He is feeling a lot of pressure now since talking to fil, and now bil and family is moving out of fil's house so the 2 of them will be alone again and dh is upset about that too.
ITA that he's not being fair to you... *but* as a south asian, i totally understand the feeling that you need to care for your aging parents. I'd try to carve out a few visits for just your dh out of the budget somehow. Cheap tickets, crappy flights whatever it takes. Dh also needs to take the initiative instead of buggign you and talk to his siblings about how to handle everything. More frequent calls back home to family are also a cheaper option that can help.

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#6 of 22 Old 10-06-2010, 12:38 PM
 
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My husband is not Indian (he's Arab), but feels similar cultural pressure to care for his mother now that she is elderly and has health problems. I have to gently agree with the others that you really need to let go of the feeling that he made his bed and now must lie in it. Choosing to leave your own country is very difficult, and one can't fully understand all of the consequences until you've moved. For example, my husband moved to the US assuming that he would bring his mother (a widow) here and care for her when she got older - and in fact, we were working towards that goal when she announced to us that she was getting married and would be staying in her home country. Eek! For the 7 years since, we've been scrambling to find ways to support her and make sure she is cared for from half way across the world.

And I guess one could say that when you chose to marry someone from India, you kind of made your bed and were agreeing to be part of his parents' support system when they grew old. I'm betting you (like me) didn't understand that was part of the bargain, but that's what we got.

Can you find a way to pay for a trip for him to go home for a visit? If not, could you send $ to help pay for someone to come visit? I'm guessing paying for a visit from a maid once a week would be quite affordable, and it might make your husband feel like he is helping out. My husband also feels better when he encourages his mom to go in for preventative-type medical tests and pays for it. She'd skip these otherwise to save $, and it gives him some peace of mind.

Good luck! I hope the two of you are able to work together.
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#7 of 22 Old 10-15-2010, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's not that I am telling him to forget his parents, I just want our lives to be in a decent position before we help them out. FWIW, my dh has 2 older brothers, who don't really step up to the plate and help out, instead they use the IL's and will move in when they need help and then move out when they don't need it. It is frustrating as I know that all the brothers resent and expect more from dh since il's paid for all his college and to come overseas, they expected him to come back and dh didn't want to and wanted to stay here. I just want dh to put our family first and on the most part he does, it's just it seems like everytime he calls home one of his parents has "almost died", I am beginning to wonder if they are trying to guilt him about him not visiting and them not visiting the USA every year, which is what they expect. Then there is the whole idea of the visit, dh at one point said we need 10000K to sponsor them, in addition to buying the plan tickets and then he said no his parents have land or something so they don't need a sponsor, but today it's now back to we need 10000K in savings asap, ultimately putting our other needs and house repairs and car repairs and debt reduction aside. I honestly wish he would just go visit them on his own, but his theory is it will be better for them to visit here because he can work the whole time and we won't lose income.

As far as the medical care is concerned, fil is retired navy and he is still working a different job and the money is not of concern, but if anyone has been to india, i would hate to have an emergency situation and try to get to a hospital, it would probably take 2 hours in the traffic.

And for me it's not the cost of the plane tickets, but that we have to have 10000K to sponsor them that stresses me. That is a lot of money and he claims that is how much money some visa site says he needs, but if they are only visiting 4-6 weeks why do we need to have that much money saved up? I just don't understand it? Maybe if someone could explain that to me or give me a reference that my dh is misinformed about this, because I just can't wrap my head around how we would need to spend that much money on them while they are visiting??

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#8 of 22 Old 10-15-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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And for me it's not the cost of the plane tickets, but that we have to have 10000K to sponsor them that stresses me.
Do you mean 10,000 dollars? Who is telling you this?

There are visa's and such that you need to get, and those can be costly, but I don't think a 10k deposit/retainer is necessary. Visa's are frustrating and annoying to arrange, especially for someone else overseas. Also, I'd keep graft in mind, and just know that it's easy to be taken advantage of in situations like these. My 10 year visa to *go* to india cost roughly 100 bucks, and an extremely boring afternoon waiting in an office. I strongly recommend your DH getting one of these, and waiting for the 'off' season to go to india cheaply.

Are you involved in your local South Asian community? I live in Dallas, Texas, and there are Indian travel agents, lawyers, etc that specialize in this kind of thing.

Finally, I just wanted to give you a big hug. I've seen my family ripped apart and sewn back together in the last year due to these kind of problems, and I have so much sympathy for all involved. You are not alone at *all*, quite a few families face similar problems-- right down to the needy brothers vs the one who went away. I'll be thinking of you!

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#9 of 22 Old 10-15-2010, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you mean 10,000 dollars? Who is telling you this?

There are visa's and such that you need to get, and those can be costly, but I don't think a 10k deposit/retainer is necessary. Visa's are frustrating and annoying to arrange, especially for someone else overseas. Also, I'd keep graft in mind, and just know that it's easy to be taken advantage of in situations like these. My 10 year visa to *go* to india cost roughly 100 bucks, and an extremely boring afternoon waiting in an office. I strongly recommend your DH getting one of these, and waiting for the 'off' season to go to india cheaply.

Are you involved in your local South Asian community? I live in Dallas, Texas, and there are Indian travel agents, lawyers, etc that specialize in this kind of thing.

Finally, I just wanted to give you a big hug. I've seen my family ripped apart and sewn back together in the last year due to these kind of problems, and I have so much sympathy for all involved. You are not alone at *all*, quite a few families face similar problems-- right down to the needy brothers vs the one who went away. I'll be thinking of you!

thanks, i know all families have drama, and Indian families are no exception. I know as far as the the 10,000$ thing, dh is basing it off of a friend who had 1 parent come to visit and that they had 5,000$ in savings for proof of sufficient funds to sponsor them. You don't have to give the money to anyone, you just have to have it in your bank account. Well 10,000$ is 1/6 of dh's take home pay per year, so it is frustrating know that he has these goals in mind when we have other needs. The website he has showed me doesn't give a $ amount, rather it just says that we will need "evidence of funds for all expenses in the United States". Seeing how 10,000$ is what we spend as a family in 3 months for mortgage, bills etc and etc, I don't see how or why we would need that kind of money, I suppose the only thing i can think of is a medical emergency? But I think it would be wise to get them travelers insurance given their health problems. IDK, but thanks for the support, we will get through this, but I honestly am not bringing it up to dh for a few more weeks, he is trying to quit smoking, so I need to avoid conflict with him while he is doing that.

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#10 of 22 Old 10-15-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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basically, they want to make sure that you will cover the person's expenses while they are staying here.

I would get some better advice on this-- there are as many different types of visa's as the day is long. That being said, if your IL's health is poor, it may be better to have DH visit them instead.

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#11 of 22 Old 10-15-2010, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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basically, they want to make sure that you will cover the person's expenses while they are staying here.

I would get some better advice on this-- there are as many different types of visa's as the day is long. That being said, if your IL's health is poor, it may be better to have DH visit them instead.

Again I hate to be suspicious, but when we were there 1 1/2 years back they seemed to be quite healthy to me. Ds and I, on the other hand were sick as dogs for most of the trip. I often wonder how they will travel given their ill health, but, like i said in a pp, i am getting dh's words from them, any time one of them falls ill, he uses the exact phrase "MIL or FIL, almost died". I really don't like that though, if they are sick, with such and such problem then why can't he or whoever is telling him these things say just that. I know MIL uses that phrase a lot, when dh hadn't went back to India she would say," if I see my son I can die happy. Now she says, if I visit America, I will die happy." I know from being there that the whole family is very sentimental and emotional, much more so than what i am used to, so it may always be like that in the way they express their emotions, but I do hate the boy who cried wolf scenario that I think could be going on. I watched my mom die, and when someone is dying they are dying, I am having a hard time believing that both the IL's have constant brushes with death nearly every couple months. I do know the living conditions are not that great there, and they are older so bugs and illnesses hit them harder. But I suppose a lot of my theories are speculation, and I wouldn't dare suggest this to dh. I know they want to see him more but after the last time we visited and the financial burden it put on us with dh not working, I don't think he would consider visiting them anytime soon unless it was a true emergency. I do think that once we did finally visit them, Dh had went 7 years not visiting, they assumed that that meant that we were financially able to visit or have them visit often. The truth is, dh had told them we would visit starting shortly after our marriage, and it took us 3 1/2 years to finally make the trip and even then we suffered financially a great deal doing so.

Bottom line, I think with us, it is the financial situation that is causing a lot of the troubles, we have had a lot trials and have made some bad choices financially we have learned from out mistakes, but it takes a while to get out of the hole and be financially stable and I still feel we haven't quite made it there yet. But I will support my dh and I know this trip when it does happen is imo right on time given our financial situation, yearly trips are not in my radar, but trips every two years, which is what it will end up being, is what we can afford, if we are able to save up the money dh says we need.

Sorry this post is long, I'm rambling and I don't have many people to talk to about this, especially those that have BTDT.

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#12 of 22 Old 10-15-2010, 10:28 PM
 
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OP, I can empathize. My ILs called just months after dh and I arrived in the US and said his father had passed. In order to get him to fly home. His father is still around, 12 years later. His (large) family is (basically) poor, and will never come to visit.

On the $$, when dh and I came here, my family did have to sign support docs with proof of savings. We once attempted to get a visa for a BIL, and I obsessed about the possibility of BIL getting sick and ending up in the hospital. That would have wrecked us, and I was actually thankful he blew his interview.

Anyway, there is no sense in even thinking about the "if only I hads" and wondering what life might be like without children. Regret won't help anyone.

We have managed to go visit the ILs twice in the last 12 years (with children). Dh has gone another 2x without us. We're trying to plan a family trip for next year again. His parents are 70s and I'll spare you the melodrama but it has become clear that no one will ever be fully satisfied. I work some, and we send money when we can, but a family trip costs $10-15K and is a logistical nightmare. Of course dh is worried they'll die when he's not there--and honestly, chances are very good that could happen, based on where and how they live and the fact that the travel from point A to point B takes more than 2 days, assuming it's been well arranged.

We are generally at peace about it, though. Part of it is that we're doing our best. We really are. I don't say no when he wants to send money, and I have even dug out some more from my own account and sent it as a gesture in the past. Another part is that our children are getting older, and I guess, more "real" to dh (if that makes sense). Also, it doesn't matter how much money I make, we are always in pretty much the same financial shape.

But we also have had to come to terms with doing without a lot of the stuff, things and lifestyle habits many of our non-international peers have, because we happen to have really pricey phone bills...quarterly wire transfers...extremely costly care packages that can only go via air (we like to send OTC meds and vitamins...lots of placebo value!)...plus these expensive trips which, to our peers, would each individually be considered a "trip of a lifetime," kwim?

We also had some major and stupid financial setbacks early in our marriage, but what's done is done. We need to focus on what's in front of us now. It's really enough to think about.
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#13 of 22 Old 10-16-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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OP, I can empathize. My ILs called just months after dh and I arrived in the US and said his father had passed. In order to get him to fly home. His father is still around, 12 years later.
This is one of the most apalling things I've ever heard.

I know most of you have probably heard me whine about my story-- but we are supporting MIL financially, and up until very recently, she was living with us.

Even foreign in laws can be toxic inlaws. It's not a cultural thing -- I've spent my whole life listening to various relatives complain about their MIL's, but I've only heard of one other MIL who was like mine (publicly backbiting, disrespectful, and a bit loony). I agree that cultural expectations are different but common decency vs manipulation is a cross-cultural problem, and should be dealt with like a problem, not just run of the mill culture clash.

OP, I don't know about your IL's. I think people can be prone to exaggerate, but depending on the health care situation, I've heard terrifying stories of people dying of tb, malaria, cancer or even childbirth etc that would have been treatable here.

I hear you both on the financial considerations-- being in a position to care for a joint family affects how we do our bank accounts, plan our vacations, even the types of home we bought. When I was younger, we couldn't afford to go to india very often, but my dad would make sure we all had up to date passports and visa's.

I guess, we are lucky that we both grew up that way, and it's kind of second nature. But sometimes I do wish that I had freedom from this guilt and responsibility. And I sympathies so much with someone that is coming into this from the outside-- being responsible for aging IL's without having seen the benefit of a joint family growing up.

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#14 of 22 Old 10-16-2010, 11:04 PM
 
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I know it's shocking. I'm over it.

Another thing dh has done, and OP, this might apply to your situation, is give his sibs a really tough talking-to. I think coming to the US really opened his eyes in terms of entrepreneurship and ambition and possibility. I mean, when people hear about how he grew up and what he does now for a living...it's quite a story. So, he has done some to enable his sibs to do more for themselves, and has basically motivated them and required them to step up for themselves--and do right by their parents. So, while we provide more $$ support than others, the rest are being reminded of their share of responsibility, and he can lay some guilt on them when it's needed. He's not afraid to call them out for taking advantage or overstepping boundaries, and when someone is doing something good for the folks, he's really vocal about praising them for it.

Of course, when he is tired and lonely, he still can get sucked into the abyss of guilt over it all. And now that his older sibs are well into middle age, they are starting to complain about their health, adding to his worries.

If I thought we could make a decent life for ourselves over there and have any privacy at all, ever, I would consider moving. Not happening at this point. Maybe someday when I don't feel a need for privacy anymore.
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#15 of 22 Old 10-17-2010, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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can you all check out my post about their visit when the baby is born and give me some insight on what might be expected? MY FIL and MIL have never came to America, MIL doesn't speak English, I know some of my fears maybe childish and I'll be honest my pregnancy hormones are even irriatating me right now. I don't like being so emotional all the time, but I have never known anyone who has btdt, and dh is being totally rude anytime I ask about their visit. How do I come to peace with the situation and convince dh that I am not against his parents while him understanding my own needs? I have honestly blocked it out for the past 9 weeks but a friend just had a baby and they asked when IL's were coming to visit and dh said when the baby is born, and when i asked something about MIL's visit a couple days later he got mad at me for asking. And seriously all I asked was, "so when are the IL's coming to visit?" like meaning which month, before or after the baby is born etc. and he got so mad i was even asking.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1271774

Oh and today, i did find out that it is him that is saying that MIL and FIL almost died, so I guess he is trying to guilt me??!? No one is trying to guilt him except himself. I asked him about what he said about mil almost dieing, and he said no, no she was just sick with a virus or something. SO then i just told him i don't like him always saying that they are about to die, watching my mom die slowly of cancer really affected me and i don't really like feeling like his parents are always on their death bed when really they had a some bug for a week and are now out and about living their lives regularly. So hopefully he will stop doing that. Meanwhile my ds has had terrible allergies the past nearly two months and we really need to get home repairs to make the home air quality better and all dh can think about is saving up this 10000K so his parents can come to visit. I have told him that his since FIL has asthma our home air would likely make his dads asthma flair up as well but he doesn't listen to me. It is frustrating.

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#16 of 22 Old 10-23-2010, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well after the big clash about il's coming when the baby is born and dh just acting terrible to me about it, I finally got some answers. He was mad at me all this time, if you read my other thread about my pregnancy stress/nerves and their visit, thanks! But long story short he was mad because we applied for a loan on the van and I stated I would be fine with it, if we used it to pay off his medical bills/credit cards and not his parents visit, and apparently that is exactly why he wanted the loan, for their visit. Well he never said that, or that maybe we could use part of the money for the visit etc, he just kept it inside and was angry at me about it, and only told me this after we didn't get approved.

So I called him out on it, I said, of course I don't want to take a loan out for their visit, we are still paying on the visit we took to see them almost 2 years ago, we are still paying on the laptop and cameras we bought for the il's and the plane tickets, so no, i don't want to go into further consumer debt. And then I told him that he was partly to blame, not exact words but implications were there, he wanted to start up the 401k at work right after our trip to india, and he has been getting the maximum withdrawals since then, that money could have paid for their trip and i told him that. I told him we need to live in the present, not 2 years ago, and not 30 years from now, we need to focus on here and now. So the next day he reduced his 401k to 1%. He is taking my and ds's health needs as a priority also. He got the air ducts cleaned and treated for mold to help with ds's allergies. I think he gets it now, he just wants it all, without any sacrifice and that is just not how life works. He wants to keep adding debt to us when we are halfway out of the hole. He finally applied for his Indian passport renewal, so in case there is an emergency he will not be stuck in India for weeks or months.

Ultimately I told him what I think textmati said in a pp , having aging parents that you want to support means you will have to go without some things, and so far, as far as materistically speaking he hasn't sacrificed much, he had to have the new expensive furniture when we bought the house and the big tv and he had to impress all the in laws when we visited India and buying thousands of dollars of gifts, which probably made them think that we do have a ton of money and that we are being selfish by not send money more often and not having mil and fil visit yet, which is not the case, we are still paying on those gifts.

I told him I am not against his parents, they are the only grandparents our kids will ever know, but I am for our immediate needs, and trying to resist deep financial hardship while pregnant when i am already hormonal and emotional as it is. I told him to talk to his Indian friend at work, he is in a similiar situation Married a mexican-american, parents still in India, hasn't went back for several years. I think if he had someone to relate to him more than maybe he would be able to find some better solutions for our situation.

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#17 of 22 Old 10-24-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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ILMBB, it sounds like you have a start. Please anticipate that this can be a rocky road. I have found that, for a long time, we had to do a lot of back-and-forth on financial decisions, and decisions that were probably minor for a lot of our peers became major for us.

The big thing is to remember that your life is not like the majority of those around you. And I recommend making a real effort to recognize the positive aspects of your unique family make-up.

You make a good point about bringing the pile of pricey gifts. I feel like we made that mistake and it had the same consequence. My dh's family cannot fathom the differences in our expenses--or the consumption and lifestyle differences between our experiences. We try hard to make wise choices, but there is consumer "creep" here and we have to stay vigilant against it. Imagine that my ILs don't realize we have to fly on a plane for 9 hours to cross the ocean in order to see them. They imagine we have something like a 2-day bus ride. Some of my ILs don't have the literacy or education to know the geography involved. There are enormous gaps...and when we show up with our cases full of what appear to be expensive presents, we are accentuating the gaps.

Our plan this next time is to bring maybe a few small, practical things (headlamps are really great, rain gear, warm socks, vitamins) and cash to give what amounts to about a month's income to each sibling's family and maybe make a nice purchase of some kind of appliance for the ILs. With paying for suitcases, the wisdom of bringing gifts is disappearing. And it may end up being that a purchase of a pair of milking goats at the market is a better choice than a gizmo or gadget that consumes electricity, wastes time, and eventually either breaks or becomes obsolete.
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#18 of 22 Old 10-24-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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ILMBB, it sounds like you have a start. Please anticipate that this can be a rocky road. I have found that, for a long time, we had to do a lot of back-and-forth on financial decisions, and decisions that were probably minor for a lot of our peers became major for us.

The big thing is to remember that your life is not like the majority of those around you. And I recommend making a real effort to recognize the positive aspects of your unique family make-up.

You make a good point about bringing the pile of pricey gifts. I feel like we made that mistake and it had the same consequence. My dh's family cannot fathom the differences in our expenses--or the consumption and lifestyle differences between our experiences. We try hard to make wise choices, but there is consumer "creep" here and we have to stay vigilant against it. Imagine that my ILs don't realize we have to fly on a plane for 9 hours to cross the ocean in order to see them. They imagine we have something like a 2-day bus ride. Some of my ILs don't have the literacy or education to know the geography involved. There are enormous gaps...and when we show up with our cases full of what appear to be expensive presents, we are accentuating the gaps.

Our plan this next time is to bring maybe a few small, practical things (headlamps are really great, rain gear, warm socks, vitamins) and cash to give what amounts to about a month's income to each sibling's family and maybe make a nice purchase of some kind of appliance for the ILs. With paying for suitcases, the wisdom of bringing gifts is disappearing. And it may end up being that a purchase of a pair of milking goats at the market is a better choice than a gizmo or gadget that consumes electricity, wastes time, and eventually either breaks or becomes obsolete.
wow! I also want to recommend cutting down on the gifts. We typically don't buy large gifts for MIL, (10-50 dollars every birthday/mother's day). She asks for more expensive things, trips and tickets to places that she wants to use 'her money' for. So far dh and I have always explained how expensive these items are before purchasing them.

I also know that my dad, after the telecom bubble bust had to sit down and tell his parents that money had gotten tighter than in previous years.

In order to care for parents jointly, you should also have *some* transparency in finances, if not with the parents, than at least with your siblings.

That being said, my mom is one of 6, and has 3 brothers and 2 sisters. When my grandfather was sick and in the hospital the 3 brothers were expected to split the hospital bill. One brother simply didn't have the 2000 dollars to come up with his share. I think that's a shame, especially since they seem to spend a lot on luxuries, that my mom (who covered his share) doesn't. .

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#19 of 22 Old 10-29-2010, 01:38 PM
 
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.... he had to impress all the in laws when we visited India and buying thousands of dollars of gifts, which probably made them think that we do have a ton of money and that we are being selfish by not send money more often and not having mil and fil visit yet, which is not the case, we are still paying on those gifts.
Ugh about this part. I am really sorry.

Just so you know, while you are married you have absolute control over if your children can travel to India. (look on the US state department web site for custody issues) Your signature is required for a passport. You can block the kids from leaving the USA through the state department process. If he wants to arrange another trip to India, demand an agreement about spending up front, for example that the current cc debt is paid off and the tickets and gifts do not run up more cc debt. Let him know you will refuse to let the kids travel if he does not stick to the agreement. Indian parents are "supposed to be" very financially focused on taking care of their children. If he can't or won't talk finances with you, and take your concerns seriously, you have a significant marriage problem.
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#20 of 22 Old 01-15-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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Well, your post resonates with me. My dh is also indian and I am on the verge of quitting the only job I've had in 5 years.  And his parents are shaky health-wise.  Being the source of blame for things my dh chose would simply not be acceptable, particularly at a time when I am pregnant.  So this must be difficult for you.  He sounds emotionally out of control and unable to think clearly.  I know how indian men can be about their parents and when you have one baby and another on the way it really isn't something you can be expected to handle.  I am so sorry you have to deal with this.  But your husband needs to see that his priority is his wife and kids now.  Perhaps talking to him about his dad will help him resolve his feelings of guilt; it helps my dh a lot when he can share with me how much he worries for them.  In any case it's a tough time; it will get better.  Hugs to you.

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#21 of 22 Old 01-15-2011, 06:36 PM
 
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You should also check out marriedtoindia.com

 

Lots of members there, mostly americans married to Indians.

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#22 of 22 Old 02-10-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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We face this, although DH's family is Egyptian, not Indian.  His Mom has had major health issues since we were married--and because she is prone to blood clots, visiting us is just not a good idea. 

 

We also face the gifts thing. I think our first visit, we spent over $2000 on gifts--and to be honest, I have no idea if they were appreciated or not.  Each trip, we've cut down.  We did buy his Mom a new washing machine--which I think was a better use of our money.

 

One thing that might help is just to let your DH see you trying to save money for an emergency fund/visit fund.  Even something as simple as dropping all of your lose change can add up.  I know we were shocked to find out DH had almost $200 in change in his money jar.    See if you can take out $5-20 from your grocery budget each week and add it to the jar.  If you can do more, do more.  If you guys are planning to go out, try and make it at home--and put the money you save in the jar.  Let DH see that you're just as concerned about his family, and it might help.  Maybe you could even surprise him with a ticket sometime.  

 

At this point, all of us visiting is no longer practical.  (5 plane tickets plus an infant's fare).  So, DH takes one kid at a time.  Although I'd like to visit, realistically it's more important that DH visit more often--and the grand kids as well.

 

The $10,000 thing sounds like a green card requirement, not a tourist visa thing.  As somebody else mentioned, I'd check with travel agents within the Desi community.  It's also the best place to get good deals on flights.


Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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